Even without meeting her, we can bet that you’ll fall under the spell of this young South African women. Nontuthuko has a beaming smile, a communicative energy, an affirmative determination and most of all an engagement that leads you to follow her. Let’s go!
Opened to the world and deep-rooted
Nontuthuko is a General Manager of Human Resources at Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the greatest coal port terminal of the continent. She is above all a remarkable sportswoman and a committed woman. Distance runner, she owes part of her endurance to her childhood in a deep rural village in the country’s northeast.
“Growing up in a rural village meant I must run 4km to buy a loaf of bread in a “nearby” shop and walk at least 6km going to school every day. You quickly realise you have no option but to be strong, tough and swift.”
Through the years, this habit dictated by necessity has taken a new place in Nontuthuko’s life and projects. “Running as a recreation I started only at the age of 26. Initially it was about finding something stimulating that I can engage in. Before I realised running took a momentum of its on… I began to run marathons and ultramarathons. Giving meaning to my passion.”
In rural zones of South Africa, children needs are often ‘out of sight and out of mind’ when it comes to resources and educational opportunities. “I believe in equal opportunities and it is my wish that children from rural villages get a fair chance to succeed. In 2019, I started to run for this cause.”
Go Beyond for A Child: running to make the difference
You have understood, Nontuthuko runs for a charity initiative called: Go Beyond for A Child. This program, focused on education, supports children from outlying areas who have little to no resources. Visiting the Khiphinkunzi primary school, quite 200 km north from Durban, she has been taken back to her childhood.
“Seeing the conditions of buildings, insalubrity, insecurity, I realised the challenges ahead. We cannot, as a society, sit comfortably when our schools are challenged so much. We cannot normalise such conditions, they do not support optimal growth for any child… I want to combine my expertise as a psychologist and my passion for running in order to make a difference.”
And she did it! Becoming the first African woman running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. From Cape Town to Brazil and Antarctica, her sweat, her determination and endurance allowed to raise 1.7 million rands. These funds were used to built and equip 5 brand new classrooms that operate today.
Beyond the recognition expressed by teachers and parents, Nontuthuko Mgabhi expresses her convictions “This witnessing and the transformation of their school inspire them to believe that any situation can change.”
She adds that intelligence and genius are equally distributed. Its opportunities who aren’t. Her goal is clear: to expose them to essential tools that can equip them for a better future, to focus efforts on primary schools because she truly believes that early experiences matter the most.
Next stage and fresh hope: the Ultra BOLIVIA Race
Nontu particularly enjoy ultramarathons. “I love saying Yes to new adventures. Mostly, I love challenges and adventures that epitomises the hardship children from rural villages faces.” Canal Aventure races are tough races, some ran in harsh conditions. “This type of races appeal to me as they align well with my Running for a Purpose.”
Highlighting that here 80% of public schools are dilapidated, she adds that most of these kids living under harsh conditions, both at school and at home, have to be resilient, to keep forging ahead even with such tough circumstances. “Canal Aventure ultra races requires all of this. You have to be motivated to push through. Life is also about the courage to show up.”
In September 2022, Nontuthuko Mgabhi will be running 220km of the Ultra Bolivia Race with one goal: raise funds to buy 220 school shoes and children’s books.
To support Nontuthuko and Go Beyond for A Child in their mission (without any sportive efforts😊), just click HERE!